Only One Gift

(Resource Pack 13) KEY STAGE 1&2

VISUAL AID: The story below ; a jester's hat, juggling balls, and possibly some mats.

Ask for volunteers to be mime artists i.e. writers, cooks, librarians, gardeners and singers.

Then ask if there is anyone clever enough to be able to juggle with three balls.

Then tell the story of the jester.(invite a child to mime being the jester from the story as you read it.

Once there was a very talented jester who travelled to fairs all around the country, and he entertained people with his juggling, his acrobatics and his humour; but sadly he fell ill.

He was taken to a monastery, where the monks looked after him with such skill and care, that he was brought back to health. When he was better, he decided that he would follow God and become a monk himself. So he asked if he could join the brothers. The head of the monastery, the Abbot, took him on as a novice, which simply means a 'new person', and he sent him to the Novice Master.

The jester was given a year to see if he was fit to be a monk.

The Novice Master sent him first to the scriptorium, (mimes alongside the writer) where he was given some writing work to do…but he made some terrible mistakes, he couldn’t even hold the pen. After a week he was removed.

He was then taken to the kitchen, to work with the cook, (mimes, alongside the cook)

but he burnt the meat, and kept adding too much salt to the food; he used the wrong pots and pans.

After a week he was removed.

So the Novice Master sent him to the library, (mimes etc.,) but he couldn’t read and was more of a hindrance than a help…so he was sent away.

Then he was taken to the gardens, (mimes) but he couldn’t tell the difference between a vegetable and a weed, and he ended up doing more damage than good.

The he was sent to the choir stalls, but when he began to sing, the other brothers were embarrassed, his singing was so awful. The choirmaster begged the Novice master to take him away, as he was ruining every service.

The jester was taken to the farm, the vineyards, the wine cellar, the hospital…and the story was the same.

The jester knew the twelve months was up, and he would have to have an interview with the Abbot, who more than likely would send him away. He felt such a failure, that he made he way along to the chapel one evening, and when no-one else was around, he began to do what he could do best, in front of the high altar.

He put on his jester’s hat, he juggled, he danced, he tumbled and balanced, and his face began to shine with happiness.

A monk came into the chapel and saw what he was doing, and he ran to the Abbot and reported the jester. ‘Come see, this man is doing acrobatics in front of the holy altar of all places!’ he said to him.

They both ran to the chapel, but when the Abbot saw him, he smiled to himself.

‘Don’t you realise,’ he said to the monk, that he is offering God the only thing that he is good at, and I’m sure God is delighted!’

The Abbot welcomed him warmly at his interview, and invited him to stay on at the monastery, on the condition that on cold dismal nights, he would entertain the other monks and cheer them up.

Do you have a special gift? Do you ever use it? If not, why not?